There’s a change coming, can you feel it?
Childhood education has been government funded around the developed world for over a hundred years now. Originally it was to help factories have competent and compliant adults - sit in rows, do as you were told, memorise this, say that, write this, achieve that. Fast forward to today and a lot of ‘legacy’ routines of school still exist even though the purpose has changed.
Speaking of purpose, it’s the number one question we should all ask ourselves:
What is school for?
If we know what it used to be for, in order to create an appropriate environment we need to ask what’s school for now? Who gets to decide this? If we all have a say; students, parents, teachers, heads, politicians, culture, society - do we try and please everyone or will someone have to lose so another can win?
My name is Sam and I don’t have the answer, nor do I have the authority to make such calls. There are thousands of teachers around the world that want the system to change, but they’re fighting against everyone - parents, governments, history. There are only two ways to ‘change’ the system; overtly or covertly. Overtly is where there are clear defined goals and the majority work together to obtain that.
I bet you can see the obvious problem with the overt solution, but there’s a not so obvious problem: most people like the old system. Why? Not because it works well, but because it makes sense. A simple lie is more believable than a complicated truth. Test scores are easy to grasp, A is better than B, 95 is better than 78, right? …. Right?
Of course we know it’s not on a deeply complex level, and yet, there’s nothing to take its place. There’s nothing that we can all agree on that’s tangible enough to understand the collective goal, so currently the system we have is the lesser of any evil trying to be currently introduced.
Why can’t we overtly change the system as an individual?
“We are the sum of the people we spend the most time with”
Hang out with 5 negative people, you become the sixth.
Hang out with 5 rich people, you become the sixth.
Hang out with 5 health minded people, become the sixth.
The group will change you before you change them. You are your tribe.
This is why individuals at the grass roots probably will try really really hard, have deeply noble goals but not get anywhere. It’s hard to thrive (enact change for the better) when you’re trying to survive (overworked) In theory, unions are supposed to ‘rally’ everyone but they have different goals and agendas. They’re not interested in the soul and lifeblood of the future of students and the soul of education, but the ‘well-being’. Unfortunately their definition of well-being may be a victim of the “a simple lie is more believable than a complicated truth”. IE more money means better life, when in reality mental and emotional well-being is probably more important and valued long-term but they are complicated subjects.
The worst of both worlds
I’ve worked in the Department of Education and the ABC media and although there’s lots of red tape, they give you enough staff and have realistic expectations to do the job. IE you don’t have to be a ‘star’ to get home on time. I’ve also worked in private companies like hospitality and commercial media. They will work you to the ground, however you can ‘bend’ the rules a lot. You cut corners and do whatever it takes to get the end result done - it’s not pretty but it works well enough.
In Australia at least, teaching seems to have the worst of both worlds and I’m honestly not sure how someone can do the grind like that day in day out. It doesn’t help that the world has no sympathy because teachers get ‘holidays’ all the time. We forgive them for they know not what teachers really do.
I might have a solution though, it’s a little covert and it just might work. When trying to figure out how to bring all representing parties to the table, it’s good to find the linchpin of their hopes and desires. I think I’ve done just that, but before you move on please consider why we won’t be a good fit together.
Here's why you shouldn't waste your time with us
If you don’t want adventure, this is not for you.
If you just want a ‘job’, this is not for you.
If you want to avoid the harsh reality of work and sacrifice needed to change the world, this is not for you.
If you’re looking for something easy, this is not for you.
If you want riches, this is not for you.
If none of that scares you off, perhaps you’ll consider donating your time with us.
Why would you want to do that?
The prices we charge for our services and products are such because not all believe in our cause... The real estate agent won't donate our rent, the venues don't donate their staff and complex, oil companies don't donate their fuel because they don't believe in our cause, but you might.
I, Sam, quit my high paying comfortable job at the ABC because I believe in this cause. James quit his job so he could make sure EVERY teacher has a shot at loving their job. Liz had a full time accounts job in a generous company and dropped three days a week so she could help us four days a week. Trevor has been helping us since the start and left his job after seeing the potential in what we’re doing. Finally, Michelle sacrificed her dreams to be apart of this because it's bigger than all of us. We all let go of safety to make a ruckus. You now have a chance to help every teacher like you live a life you dreamed you’d have when you started this career!
We’re trying to achieve the impossible
Myself and all who help me at this little family owned enterprise are about to try and achieve the impossible, change the lives of students, change the lives of teachers, change the entire way we look at education forever.
Teachers don't like trying new things - I’m sorry, but it’s true, look around you. Principals don't like using non popular programs or methods and don't like being the only one doing something (herd mentality). University professors won't like us because we're not from the inside working out. Parents won't like us because this is not the way school is. Politicians don't like us because the adults voters don’t like us. But there is one group… the kids. The kids love us.
The plan is to help teachers which leads to faith in principals which leads to widespread growth which leads to curiosity from universities which leads to trust from parents which lead to politicians taking notice because kids now love to learn. They learn because they want to, not because they have to.
All teachers wish for these 3 things
To be excited to go to work
To have students well behaved through deep engagement
To go home on time and have reasonable time off during school holidays
One day we hope to make these 3 wishes come true, and more importantly, we think we can… we have a plan. But we need help. We can’t do this alone, we need people like you reading this to put your hand up and say “I want to be a part of the effort today to make the world a better place tomorrow.”
The system is broken and it breaks the people in it. Your legacy can be changing that system. We’re going to have the doubters, the haters, the trouble makers saying “you will never do it.” And they might be right, but the people crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
It starts with the teachers.
If we can make their life easier and better with the tools to get them ahead... move them from survive to thrive... this is how we get great results in the classroom. We asked ourselves “What if the teacher was the conductor and the students we're the orchestra?” It's not only possible, we know how to make it real, but we need more teachers help, we need more than just the five of us. Will you be a part of this cause?
Funnily enough, we've gotten really good at problem solving, so if you're facing classroom or career problems, we'll work together to solve them. It's only fair that we look after you while you're being kind to us. We'll work around you and your life, what we can offer you is respect, gratitude and flexibility. We only request one thing - you can pick your own 'done by' dates (no matter when) but stick to them. The ‘feels’ won’t always be there to motivate you, but the feels are so strong after, it’s worth it!
We work out of our home... at the start of this year we moved to a bigger house, not because we wanted a nicer place, it was because we were literally working out of the garage! We now work out of a couple of rooms and have room to store our physical resources. They cost a bit to produce but we give them away for free for the greater good of teachers and to start the groundswell of support.
A dream with a plan is a goal
How did we go from horse and cart to cars? How did we go from everyone producing our own food to everyone buying their food from someone else? How did we go from keys and wallet/purse to keys, wallet/purse and smartphone? How did we go from no one having the internet to everyone using it daily? You look to the past to discover the future. We have a dream:
For you to be excited to go to work
For teachers to have students well behaved through deep engagement
For teachers to go home on time and have reasonable time off during school holidays
The plan we have is deeply complex but the premise is simple:
We cannot control the laws of physics which govern water flow, but we can learn how and why it flows. Once we understand that, we can change the earth around it to make it do as we need it to.
Making something different is very easy, making something better is very hard, but not impossible. We have a dream, we have a plan, would you like to help reach the ultimate goal?
Volunteer Teacher Submissions
Current or former school teacher (primary or secondary) to assist in editing, research & development, lesson plans, ‘teacher things’ and to possibly present professional learning.
Taking verbal or draft written content and tightening it up for a teacher audience.
Research and development assistant
Research gopher - keeping abreast of relevant studies, pedagogy, best practice and national and state curricula as requested
Sounding board and light bulb - co-creating/adapting/evaluating drafts and iterations of educational resources products as requested.
Taking content and themes we’ve been working on and assemble them into coherent lesson plans.
Any of the miscellaneous things, asking your opinion, sharing advice, thoughts, ideas, testing products/services
Presenter of professional learning
Grand master - through on-the-job training achieve mastery level knowledge and understanding of how critical and creative thinking and problem solving and design thinking are best taught and learned.
Coach - train teachers in CCT and DT through practical workshops and engaging presentations.
In the future we’ll be expanding our learning areas.
Desired dispositions required
Must be willing to:
See work and life as nuanced – not black and white
Think creatively and critically at the same time
Grapple with complexity until it becomes simple
Work hard to find an easier way for others
Solve problems independently one day and follow explicit instructions the next
Reflect regularly on your own learning and achievements
Be cynical of the current state of education yet harbour hope that you can be a part of the change
Desired skills required
Composition skills – ability to rewrite/reimagine teaching resources/documents and proofread and edit while being mindful of application of language conventions and the needs of the end-user
Research skills - ability to investigate raw data and identify correlations, and ability to explore existing research to synthesise information and draw/support conclusions
Presentation skills - be able to speak confidently and articulately to a room full of strangers
Service skills - be able to engage with individuals and groups with an air of authenticity and generosity of spirit
If you feel you lack some of these skills, but have an abundance of passion, energy and perhaps a little time to spare, we’d still love to hear from you!
Please apply below, attach documents or enter information below and we promise to get back to you - you bothered to take the time to apply so the least we can do is take the time to reply back.